With a background in graphic design and experience in the architecture and interior design industry, ‘design’ has always been a part of Eloise McCullough’s life. Even still, she never quite imagined having a career in stained glass.
‘My dream has always been to build a brand and work for myself, and in lockdown I started up a business called FIGR with my friend and business partner Eloise O’Sullivan,’ Eloise says. It was a much-needed outlet, but she still felt ‘restless’ and became curious about courses that might ‘feed’ her creativity.
‘I discovered a course [at Melbourne Polytechnic in Designed Glass and Glazing] and it was a video on the course page of a young female artist, Nadine Keegan, that reeled me in and resonated with me.’
‘The video showed Nadine working in her Melbourne inner north studio, working with stained glass in a way I’d never seen before. It broke down my preconceived ideas of stained glass being reserved for churches.’
It resonated with Eloise so much that she decided to enrol. Once she started learning the crafts of leadlight, stained-glass painting and copper foiling, she found it hard to switch off – and ‘never looked back’.
Now with her own practice, Fools Glass, Eloise been working on contemporary, custom lead-light windows for homes and framed pieces, in addition to a made-to-order range of kiln-fused glass coasters! ‘It was important to me to offer an item that was accessible, so that people can inject some personality in their home and have tangible handcrafted glass without the hefty price tag,’ she explains.
While the work is ‘not all glamorous’ and full of ‘inevitable’ mistakes, breakages and injuries from cutting glass and soldering, Eloise is excited to be part of the emerging artists and makers who are reimagining the painstaking practice for a modern audience.
‘I gain inspiration from my glass peers such as Poppy Templeton and Jodie Mae – we each have our own unique aesthetic and approach glass with design sensibility,’ she notes. ‘Through sharing our works and process on social media we’re cultivating a renewed appreciation for the traditional craft. It’s clear that over the last few years there’s been a shift from mass production to an appreciation for quality craftsmanship.’
And we’ve got no doubts that Eloise’s beautiful work will be part of the next-generation’s legacy of glass art, ensuring it continues to evolve for another thousand years!
Find out more about Fools Glass and enquire about a commission here.